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Testimony: U.M.H.N.


Name: U.M.H.N.
Age: 16
Date of incident: 23 May 2016
Location: Al Jalazun camp, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones
On 23 May 2016, a 16-year-old minor from the Al Jalazun refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers from home at 4:00 a.m. and accused of throwing stones. He reports ill treatment and being denied his basic legal rights under Israeli military law. He reports being released 10 days later after payment of NIS 2,000.
I was arrested from home at around 4:00 a.m. I woke up to the sound of aggressive banging at our front door. My father opened the door and found a group of Israeli soldiers outside. They immediately asked for me. The commander asked to see my identity card and then told me to change because they were going to take me away. They did not give us any documents.
Once outside the soldiers tied my hands to the back with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and one connecting the two. The ties were tight. They also blindfolded me. I was then led on foot towards the main road. On the way I was beaten and the soldiers swore at me saying I was a "brother of a fucking whore". When we arrived I was put in the back of a military jeep where they made me sit on the metal floor. The jeep drove for about 10 minutes to the nearby settlement of Bet El.
As soon as we arrived at the settlement I was examined by a doctor. He removed the blindfold and asked me some questions about my heath condition. He wanted to know whether I was taking drugs or not. I was blindfolded again and taken to another room where I waited on the floor.  There were lots of empty metal boxes in the room and the soldiers kept banging them with their guns which made sudden loud sounds. They didn’t want me and the other detainees in the room to fall asleep. I remained in the room until 4:00 p.m. that afternoon.
I was then taken to the police station in Binyamin settlement where I arrived at around 5:00 p.m. At Binyamin I was taken to a room where I waited for about two hours. At this time I was given some food. I didn’t eat much because the food looked unappetizing. At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator did not inform me of my rights and asked me to call my parents and ask them to send a lawyer. I called my parents and told them what he had told me. Then he turned a tape recorder on and asked me about my participation in throwing stones. He also asked me for names of boys who throw stones. I denied having anything to do with stone throwing.
During the interrogation a soldier took me to another room where I was interrogated by a second interrogator who repeated the same questions and the same allegations. Again, I did not confess. Then a third interrogator started to interrogate me and I kept denying the accusation. I was then taken back to the first interrogator who by now had lost his patience. He started to yell at me in an attempt to extract a confession.  Still, I continued to deny the accusation.
The interrogator then showed me some documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them but I refused. He told me he was going to leave the room and asked me to call him back once I had signed the documents. This scared me because I thought he was going to bring back soldiers to beat me so I told him not to leave the room because I was going to sign the documents which I signed.
The interrogator then took my photograph and my fingerprints and took me back to the room where I waited before being interrogated. I remained in the room until around 10:30 p.m. I was then transferred to Ofer prison, near Jerusalem.
At Ofer I was locked up in a room until around midnight when I was strip searched and taken into Section 13. During my time at Ofer I had four military court hearings which my lawyer and my parents attended. During this time, I was also taken back to Binyamin settlement for another interrogation.
At Binyamin the interrogator repeated the same allegation and wanted me to confess against other boys. I was interrogated for about 30 minutes before I was taken back to Ofer. I continued to deny the allegation and did not confess against other boys.
On the fourth hearing the military judge told me I had to pay NIS 2,000 and that I might be called for more questioning any time in the future because my file wasn’t closed. After the hearing I was taken back to a cell but about an hour later I was told I was going to be released. I was released on 1 June 2016, at around 6:00 p.m. My parents were waiting for me outside prison and I went home with them.